As is usual at the beginning of every year, I spend time to seek the Lord for His mind for the new year. For 2021, the Lord has given me two themes.
- Authentic Worship
- Hearts of Gratitude
I want to do a short series first on Authentic Worship, based on a message I gave in 2018 at a Praise & Worship Workshop. As I reflected on the theme of Authentic Worship, the Lord brought me back to this message. The Lord has given me very specific areas to touch on, so it is not my intention to expound comprehensively on this topic but to share only those aspects that the Lord has shown me by His Spirit for such a time as this.
Before we get into the meat of the matter, let me first define the word ‘authentic’. The various online dictionaries says it means ‘genuine, original, real, true, legitimate, and actual. I like the definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
- worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact;
- conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features;
- made or done the same way as an original.
John 4:23-24 – This is Jesus speaking.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NKJV)
What can we learn from these two verses?
- God the Father is seeking TRUE worshipers. Strong’s concordance interprets the word ‘seeking’ as desiring. This is a desire of the Lord’s heart and so should be our desire also.
- We can conclude that there are worshipers and then there are TRUE worshipers. What differentiates the two? Jesus says TRUE WORSHIPERS are those who worship the Father in SPIRIT and TRUTH. It is my belief that every Christian believer aspires to be a True Worshiper.
- The key therefore to understanding what is meant by TRUE (AUTHENTIC) WORSHIP is to understand what is really meant by worshiping the Father in SPIRIT and TRUTH.
I was going to take the approach of teaching on these two aspects separately but the Lord said they cannot be separated. You cannot understand truth except God’s Spirit give you revelation.
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:11, NKJV)
WHAT IS TRUTH?
The scriptures tell us that “God’s Word is truth” (John 17:17). We are also told by Jesus in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth and the life” and no one who comes to the Father can come except through Him. John 1:1 says,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (NKJV)
We can therefore conclude that true worshipers place Jesus (the truth) at the centre of their worship. He is their sole focus. True worshipers understand that their worship is an expression of their love and complete surrender to the One who sacrificed His own life on their behalf. The true worshiper’s posture therefore must be in accordance with Romans 12:1.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Rom. 12:1, NIV, emphasis mine)
A requirement for true worship and true worshipers is holiness. Throughout the scriptures we see these words “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalms 96:9, 29:2, 1 Chron. 16:29, 2 Chron. 20:21).
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet, 1:15-16, NKJV)
This is not a request, a choice, or an “if you feel like it”. It is a command. God never requires us to do something that is not possible. Of course, it is not possible in our own strength. We must have the power of the Holy Spirit within us for holiness to be achieved. We must understand that when we were saved our spirits were reborn and renewed but our soul – our mind, will and emotions – continue to be a battle ground; hence, our continual struggle to walk in righteousness. Paul tells us about it in Romans 7.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who will to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:21-25, NKJV)
Through Jesus Christ our Lord! Remember Jesus is the Word. So we win the battle to achieve holiness through the Word. But there is another element that was released to us through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26, NKJV, emphasis mine)
True worshipers do nothing in their own power and strength. If they do, then it is not true worship. They are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit who knows the will of the Father and testifies only the truth of God’s Word.
‘Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit’, says the Lord of hosts. (Zec. 4:6b, NKJV).
This brings us right back to our initial scripture in John 4:23-24. God is Spirit and it is our spirit that must touch His if there is to be true worship.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; (Psalms 42:7, NKJV)
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24, NKJV, emphasis mine)
As I finish laying this foundation, it is important for us to note that this John 4:23-24 passage was part of a conversation Jesus was having with a Samaritan woman. Let’s see what He says to her in verse 22.
“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship…” (John 4:22)
A true worshiper knows the God who he/she is worshiping. I don’t mean knows of God or knows about God but knows God. To know someone you must be spending intimate time with that person. You must be in close relationship to really get to know someone. It is out of our knowledge of the awesomeness and the greatness of the God we serve that we bring true worship.
Next time, we will shift our focus to the POWER OF TRUE WORSHIP. See you then.